Best Of: Why ISIS Is Bullet-Proof

By Michael W. S. Ryan

Dr. Michael W. S. Ryan is currently a Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation and serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Middle East Journal. Ryan is the author of Decoding Al-Qaeda's Strategy: The Deep Battle Against America (Columbia, 2013), a recent U.S. Naval War College Case Study, "ISIS: The Terrorist Group That Would Be a State" (August 2015), and numerous articles on Middle Eastern radical groups. He served in senior positions in the federal government including the U.S. Department of State and the Pentagon.  

The Cipher Brief’s Bennett Seftel sat down with Michael W.S. Ryan, Senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation, to discuss ISIS’ recent battlefield losses, the group’s current level of influence, and what to expect from ISIS in coming months.

The Cipher Brief: Today, ISIS controls significantly less territory than it did two years ago, is losing ground in and around key cities such as Mosul and Raqqa, and is recruiting fewer foreign fighters. What is your assessment of the group’s overall strength and influence in Syria and Iraq?

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